What is Matariki?
Each winter the stars of Matariki and Puanga signal the end of one year in Aotearoa and the beginning of the next.
Traditionally Māori have recognised the rise of Matariki as a time to celebrate and prepare for the indigenous New Year. It was a time when crops were harvested, and seafood and birds were collected – a time of celebration and plenty, but also a time for preparing and storing for times of shortage ahead.
Matariki was a time to practise manaakitanga – to share kai and present offerings to others.
Nowadays during Matariki we can express manaakitanga by:
- Acknowledging the value of healthy kai as a taonga for achieving hauora Māori.
- Offering healthy kai to whānau and manuhiri.
- Using koha kai as a way of supporting and nurturing others.
The stars of Matariki
Matariki is the Māori name for a cluster of stars – a seven-star constellation that appears in late May or early June each year.
There are two translations for Matariki – ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to legend, when Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūānuku (earth mother) were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.